My wife always makes fun of me because I don’t know how to mow the lawn, but truth is, I really don’t. Growing up in an urban city I never had a lawn… that is, until last year, when I moved to the suburbs, where lush green lawns are seeded, trimmed, and pampered by neighbours, it seems, each and every weekend. It got me wondering about how farmers in poverty-stricken, rural areas around the world access the necessary resources and knowledge to tend their crops, especially if it’s not something they’re familiar with.
KOMAZA, a nonprofit social enterprise founded by Tevis Howard in 2006, provides farmers with tools and training to grow trees on their unused land to create a sustainable supply of wood (and healthier environment), which once mature, is sold as high-value wood products to generate higher incomes.
KOMAZA’s microforestry program offers financial, training, marketing and sales services that channel surplus land and labour towards the economic potential of trees so Africa’s poorest farmers can earn more than “3x their baseline income from 3/4 acre of trees and one acre of short-term crops.” KOMAZA retains a percentage of each farm’s revenues to cover costs and to invest in new families.
Organized into Rural Cells, which consists of a central office and tree processing facility that serve 9000 farmers, a decentralized Field Extension Network of locally-based staff supports farmers at each stage of the microforestry process.
When farmers join KOMAZA’s program, they receive training on preparing their land for planting, are provided with tools such as eucalyptus GC clonal seedlings, seeds for short-term crops and fertilizers, and on-going village training for the lifetime of their tree farm. Through a 13-15 year harvest cycle, KOMAZA harvests and sells portions of trees that re-grow to provide farmers with decades of income, and works with farmers on investment and spending options to ensure self-sufficiency.
To learn more about Eucalyptus, one of the core crops offered to KOMAZA farmers, click here. For more on the environmental and social impact of sustainably planting trees for higher incomes, click here.
Make a donation to KOMAZA’s movement towards helping “Africa’s farm families permanently plant themselves out of poverty” by clicking here.
Thank you KOMAZA for making our world wonderful.
LET ME KNOW, REPLY BELOW: Have you planted a tree before? What type of tree was it?